Ranieri still in denial

LEICESTER. — Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri said he was still refusing to look at the English Premier League soccer table despite his team re-establishing a five-point lead by beating Newcastle United 1-0 on Monday night.

Shinji Okazaki’s stunning 25th-minute overhead bicycle kick gave Leicester a hard-earned 1-0 win at the King Power Stadium on Monday night and left them needing 20 points from their final eight games to complete one of the most improbable title triumphs in the history of European football.

But while teams like Arsenal and Manchester City continue to flounder in their slipstream, Ranieri was insistent that neither he nor his players are allowing themselves to think about the title.

“I don’t look at the table. I look at the next match — Crystal Palace,” he told his post-match press conference.

“It’s difficult. We want to enjoy, we want to continue. Of course our fans are dreaming, are so proud of us. We must continue.”

He added: “Never we speak about the title. Every time we speak about our performance, how we enjoy the football and helping our team-mates. I’m very proud when I say everyone helps each other.”

Okazaki’s goal, a textbook overhead volley from Jamie Vardy’s knock-down, took the Japan striker’s tally to six goals for the campaign, but Ranieri made a point of praising his all-round contribution.

“I’m not pleased now because he scored a goal — I’m so pleased with Shinji because he’s part of the team and he works so hard every time,” he said.

“He scored a goal tonight (Monday), but Shinji has made a fantastic job during all the season. It was a good goal, a fantastic goal.” — AFP.

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